Friday, October 02, 2009

The Cellist of Sarajevo

The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway

This novel tells the story of three people trying to survive in Sarajevo during the siege.

One day a shell lands and kills twenty-two people waiting in line for bread, as the cellist watches from a window in his apartment. He vows to sit in the hollow where the mortar fell and play Albinoni's Adagio once a day for each of the twenty-two victims. Arrow, a female sniper, is asked to protect the cellist from a hidden shooter who is out to kill the cellist. Until now Arrow has been able to pick her own targets. She is now assigned a target and her whole life changes.

Kenan must navigate the dangerous streets to order to get water for his family and an elderly neighbour. At each intersection Kenan is paralyzed with fear as he watches people crossing get picked off by the snipers in the hills.

Dragon is out on the streets to go and get a free meal if he can only get there. His family has escaped the city. As he waits at an intersection he meets an old friend only to watch her get gunned down.

This novel brings the horrific and scary aspects of war and strife to the forefront. It is truly amazing what the people of Sarajevo endured. I found the ending of the book unsatisfying as there really was no ending.

Aside: It is very interesting that a Canadian author with an 'English' last name is writing so intensely about a war in Sarajevo.

First Line: "It screamed downward, splitting air and sky without effort."



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